Do you ever feel like you’re running on a treadmill? If so, you’re in good company – many fellow entrepreneurs are your running mates.

Can you get off the treadmill? Most definitely – if you’re willing to build a skyscraper.

You see, a skyscraper is a much better place to run than a treadmill.

But before we get into that, we need to warn you about one thing. A lot of entrepreneurs think that they are superheroes; they believe that they can “leap tall buildings in a single bound.”

It leads to disappointment at best. The two of us know – we’ve been there, done that. We’ve learned that you can’t jump to the top. There isn’t an elevator or even an escalator.

Nope. As an entrepreneur, you have to take the stairs. We call it the stairway to success. Let’s talk about what you’ll see on your journey to the top.  

The rooftop

The rooftop represents your vision of success. What’s your end game? You need some idea of how you will turn this illiquid asset – your business – back into liquid cash.

You may hope to go public. You may want to sell to a larger company. Or you may plan to make so much money that you can diversify with assets that generate passive income.

What’s your dream for your business? You have to know what you’re trying to accomplish before you decide on strategies to take you there.

When do you want to reach the top? You need to establish an expected date of arrival. We like five years. Your time frame is up to you.

There’s a big party waiting for you at the top of your skyscraper. All you have to do is get there. You do that one floor at a time.

The floors

The floors represent milestones. These are noteworthy events in the history of your business.

Your milestone may be to build a prototype, land your first customer, pass the $1 million mark in revenues or anything else that you consider significant.

The key is linking your floors to your rooftop. Each milestone should be designed to move you one level closer to your vision.

You also should set a due date for every milestone. This keeps you pushing even when things aren’t going your way.

When you hit a milestone, take a break. Catch your breath. Pat yourself on the back. Revel in the accomplishment. Refuel. Then, get back to the stairway.

The steps

Now we’re getting to the key to success. You have your vision (the rooftop). You have your goals (the floors).

Now, you need to determine what needs to be done to get to the next floor. We tend to think of floors in 90-day increments (i.e., quarters). Then, we picture a stairwell with 13 steps between floors. Each floor represents one week.

Now, it’s easy. How many quarters will it take you to hit your next milestone? Let’s say your answer is “1.”

Okay, so each step represents one week. What do you need to accomplish this week to move one step closer to the next floor?


Now that the design is done, it’s time to build. But first, picture what it will look like when it’s complete.

See yourself standing at the bottom of this skyscraper. Look up at the landing for the first floor. Now all you have to do is take a step.

That’s it. But you must do it. You must act. You must climb!

Don’t focus on the rooftop. Sure, you may think about it when you wake up in the morning. It serves as motivation. But then, forget about it for the rest of the day.

Don’t focus on the next floor. If you look that far up, you’ll trip.

You build success one step at a time. So, focus exclusively on your next step. Give it all the time, attention, energy and effort it deserves.

Just take one step, then another. Before you know it, you’ll be hanging out on your rooftop oasis!

Does this picture work for you? What’s your next step? We’d love to hear about your experience.